Scenes from the Higher Ed Apocalypse

Unless you read the LA Times, you may have missed this astounding story from Monday about the now-former dean of the University of Southern California’s medical school, Dr. Carmen Puliafito. It is a long story, so here are the highlights:

An Overdose, a Young Companion, Drug-Fueled Parties: The Secret Life of USC Med School Dean

During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.

Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances captured their exploits in photos and videos. The Times reviewed dozens of the images.

Shot in 2015 and 2016, they show Puliafito and the others partying in hotel rooms, cars, apartments and the dean’s office at USC.

In one video, a tuxedo-clad Puliafito displays an orange pill on his tongue and says into the camera, “Thought I’d take an ecstasy before the ball.” Then he swallows the pill.

In another, Puliafito uses a butane torch to heat a large glass pipe outfitted for methamphetamine use. He inhales and then unleashes a thick plume of white smoke. Seated next to him on a sofa, a young woman smokes heroin from a piece of heated foil. . .

Puliafito resigned his $1.1-million-a-year post in March 2016, in the middle of the spring term, saying he wanted to explore outside opportunities.

Three weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman had overdosed in his presence in a Pasadena hotel room.

Good grief! The whole story is too off the hook even for TMZ, which will probably have to run some special episodes to cover this story. I thought this kind of thing only happened with football and basketball coaches.

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